Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Denying Self

‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34

Mark and I were at dinner with friends some years ago. This friend and his wife are musicians and we were at a gathering with many musicians and performers. We had observed two different groups, one very polished and the other rather sloppy and goofy. The first group were great musicians, the second group were phenomenal. And we were wondering aloud why that is so. Our friend Mick said that you really have to lose yourself to the music, one needs to be transparent so the music can flow through your and transport people to a larger place. He said the best musicians are vessels or slave to the music itself. And instantly I knew he was correct, not just for musicians but for all of us. We don't own the best of what we have to offer. Those gifts are God's gifts within us and we are at our best when we put self aside and let God shine through.

I used to think this denial of self stuff meant something penitential and psychologically damaging, but now I know a larger truth. The larger truth is that too often we don't follow Jesus, or let God shine through because we are embarrassed. We don't want to look like a fool. And yet to open one's self up to God is to be transparent, letting God's love, art and possibility shine through. It is not a denial but a completion, a swim in the larger, lighter more beautiful sea of love.

So today, I want to be transparent in my following of Jesus. I won't worry how it looks, or how silly I seem, but rather will give myself to the greater love and more perfect music in my life. I pray that we can all follow God this way, by opening ourselves so the wide world around us might see and glimpse the beauty of the love of God.

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